Back in July, we announced that Provisions 139 was relocating from its original location at 139 Vermont Street to 44 Breckenridge (near the corner of Niagara Street, and next to the original Union Meeting House).
Just yesterday, West Side Community Services (WSCS) held a ribbon cutting for the “market-style, customer-choice” food pantry.
The decision to relocate (and supersize) to Niagara Street came about when operators of the pantry on Vermont Street learned that the building that they were occupying was being sold. It was at that time, that WSCS Executive Director, Crystal Selk, began to scramble, by searching for a new home base that would accommodate their growing needs.
“We didn’t know what would happen when the building sold, but we were already outgrowing the space anyway,” said Selk. “We were struggling with storage capacity, as well as the fact that the building had only one person-sized entrance with steps. It wasn’t practical to load in thousands of pounds of food by hand every other week since we couldn’t bring in pallets, and the stairs made it inaccessible for our neighbors who have mobility issues.”
The new building is 1,800 square feet, compared to only 800 square feet at the previous building.
“Our new location is on a major bus route, features a flat entrance with two wide garage doors, and is just all-around better suited to our needs. We are more efficiently and comfortably serving about 1,300 individuals each month here,” Selk continued.
Along with showing off their new home at the ribbon cutting, WSCS also announced that it was the recipient of of $10,000 in funding from Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera. The funding will be used for pantry operations.
“With its new, expanded location on Niagara Street, West Side Community Services and Provisions 139 will be able to greatly increase their already tremendous support toward food security within our city,” Assemblymember Rivera says. “Not only will the new location be able to enhance storage capacity, but it’s located on a major bus route, which will allow the organization to meet residents where they are in order to best serve them. I’m proud to have been able to secure $10,000 for pantry operations, and I look forward to continuing to support Provisions 139’s mission to strengthen food security throughout Western New York.”
“We are incredibly grateful for Assemblymember Rivera’s continued support for the pantry,” says Selk. “Every bit of aid, from large grants to donations from someone’s kitchen cupboard, helps ensure our West Side neighbors have nutritious food to eat.”
Along with the added capacity, and allotted funding, WSCS will also benefit from a major increase in funding through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Nourish New York program and the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program. This will allow the pantry to source locally grown produce year-round, which will, in turn, support local farmers.
NYS Senator Sean Ryan said, “”West Side Community Services has been an essential part of Buffalo’s West Side for nearly 50 years, and I am proud to support the work they do every day. Since it first opened two years ago, Provisions 139 has provided hundreds of families with reliable access to healthy food. Expanding the pantry into its new location on Niagara Street will help the team at West Side Community Services expand its reach and ensure that it is accessible to more members of the community.”
Buffalo Common Council Member David A. Rivera stated, “I recall when West Side Community Services first approached me with their vision to run a pantry that served their neighbors but didn’t feel like a pantry. In 2021, when their vision came to fruition, I didn’t think I could be more pleased with the work they had done. Their expansion is a testament to their commitment to serving the community; not just in their own neighborhood, but throughout the West Side!”
Erie County Legislator April Baskin added, “West Side Community Services has been a staple in the Niagara District for 45 years. Their mission has always been to serve and to provide support for community members during difficult times. The opening of this food pantry is another example of their dedication to the community and our most vulnerable residents.”
Lead image: The ribbon cutting event was attended by Selk, NYS Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera, NYS Senator Sean Ryan, City of Buffalo Deputy Mayor Rashied H. McDuffie, Buffalo Common Council Member David A. Rivera, and Samir Spencer, District Director for Erie County Legislator April Baskin.
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